Bob Dylan mottar 2004 ett hedersdoktorat i musik av Kenneth Dover vid St. Andrews

En av vår tids största namn inom grekiska, Sir Kenneth Dover, avled i söndags, några dagar före sin 90-årsdag. För en så inflytelserik och omskriven person var det inte oväntat att det redan fanns nekrologer färdiga att publicera, och det är med varm hand jag hänvisar er vidare till några sidor. Guardian-texten är skriven av Stephen Halliwell, Dovers efterträdare som professor i grekiska på University of St. Andrews, där även upphovsmannen till Akropolis World News håller hus. De andra texterna saknar upphovsman, så vitt jag kan se.

Jag bjuder också på några utdrag ur texterna. För den som har en stund över finns det en hel del fascinerande saker att läsa om från denne gigants liv och leverne, så det är en uppriktig rekommendation att klicka sig vidare.

The Guardian

The value of Dover’s remarkable body of work lies not just in its consummate linguistic and historical adeptness, but in its fusion of these qualities with an insight that never ceased to find the whole gamut of human behaviour worthy of attention. To a degree extremely rare among top-rank academics, Dover was interested in all dimensions of life – from the sounds of people’s voices to the largest ideas which inform their actions in the world. He was exemplary not for his pursuit of a method or ideology (he was scrupulously undidactic) but for the finesse with which he displayed how the best historical thinking can fuse technical excellence with deeply reflective understanding. His death marks the end of an era in classical scholarship.

The Telegraph

He realised the sensitivities of his subject and carefully prefaced his epoch-making Greek Homosexuality (1978), the first and best scholarly study of the subject, with the words: ”No argument which purports to show that homosexuality in general is natural or unnatural, healthy or morbid, legal or illegal, in conformity with God’s will or contrary to it, tells me whether any particular homosexual act is morally right or morally wrong. No act is sanctified, and none is debased, simply by having a genital dimension.”

The Times

In 1955 the electors to the chair of Greek at the University of St Andrews were looking for a successor to W. L. Lorimer. They made their inquiries and, as a St Andrews colleague later wrote, “netted the complete Grecian”. […] The great opportunity was the chance to expand an already distinguished department along lines of his own choosing. It had concentrated hitherto very much on linguistic skills: Dover developed the study of all things Greek. By the time he left, 21 years later, St Andrews had a very special reputation in classical studies.

Var ska man börja om man vill bekanta sig med Dovers arbete, men saknar kunskaper i grekiska? Jag rekommenderar i så fall hans artikelsamlingar, Greek and the Greeks Vol. 1 (1987) samt Vol. 2 (1988). Jag kan inte heller låta bli att länka till en blogg som ger en bild av den unge Dovers anmärkningsvärda kunskaper i grekiska, för att demonstrera den respekt ”which he should still command from us now”.

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